10 May MLB Mail Mag – Fan Questions Answered
By: Lou Landers – thesportscrew.com – @realsportscrew
1) Who will be the first manager to be fired this season?
The first guy who comes to mind is definitely Terry Collins of the New York Mets. The Mets are off to a dreadful start and it seems like he has lost that club house. Collins was rumored to be on the hot seat years ago before the Mets got hot and went to the World Series. If their struggles continue both on and off the field, don’t be surprised to see him gone.
Other options might be Jeff Bannister of the Texas Rangers or Jon Gibbons of the Toronto Blue Jays. Coming into the season, both teams were expected to be towards the top of their divisions and currently find themselves at or towards the bottom of their divisions with what seems like an impossible road to climb. Both teams do have a ton of talent and could recover, however history is not on their side. More on this later though.
2) Is Marwin Gonzalez for real?
He has been a beast so far this season. Especially when you consider that he wasn’t supposed to get any playing time in a very crowded Astros infield and outfield. He has made life difficult on management because with the way he is hitting, it’s impossible to keep him out of the lineup. It of course helps Gonzalez that he can play all 4 infield positions and likely all 3 OF positions too if asked too. What is most impressive about his start this season is the power numbers. It’s one thing for him to be hitting for a high average, but he is also in the top 10 in the AL in home runs this season. I don’t expect it to last, however, as long as it does, expect Gonzalez to keep finding his way into this Astros lineup which is one of baseball’s best. Depth is an important thing to have throughout an 162 game season and at the very least, Gonzalez provides it in Houston.
3) How are the Giants are so bad?
Simply put, they’re old and also don’t have one of the best players in all of MLB. We all know they lost Bumgarner earlier this season and although they were playing poorly before the injury, it doesn’t help your situation when you lose your ace, anchor of your rotation and one of the leaders in the club house. Outside of Catcher Buster Posey, no one in the lineup is swinging the bat well and you can’t win baseball games when you don’t score runs. I think another factor here is that their division is much tougher this season with the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks both playing good baseball. Even if both of those teams come back down to earth, you have to expect the Dodgers to find their groove at some point and it doesn’t appear that the Giants will be able to compete this season. They should consider this a lost season.
4) Can we see powerhouses Yankees vs. Nationals World Series?
This is of course a very strong possibility based on how they’ve both played so far this season; the problem is, it’s only the first half of May and there is another 130 plus games to go. Injuries can occur, players can go into slumps and other teams around them can get hot. The Nationals and Yankees both have very good lineups, are deep as can be offensively but where they differ is that the Yankees are relying on a lot of young and unproven talent, where the Nationals have been perennial contenders for years now and appear poised to make a run again this season. The youth for the Yankees may prove to be their achilles heel but only time will tell. On the Nationals side, their starting rotation is fantastic but their bullpen is a big weakness. Coming into the season, they didn’t have a set closer, which would explain why they’re already onto their 3rd option. Due to inefficiencies and an injury, Matt Albers is now closing out games for them, he actually recorded the first save of his career over the weekend.
5) Will Texas or Toronto pull themselves out of this funk?
I would like to say yes because both teams are loaded with talent, however they are also both dealing with key injuries in their starting rotations and lineups. The Rangers lost Cole Hamels this past week to the DL and he is expected out for over 8 weeks, a huge loss for a Rangers rotation that isn’t great to begin with. They also haven’t had the heart and soul of their ball club all season long in the form of future hall of famer Adrian Beltre. The Blue Jays on the other hand, haven’t had their MVP in Josh Donaldson since the first week of the season and are also missing SS Troy Tulowitzki. They’ve seen SP J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez go down with injuries as well, who were arguably their 2 best pitchers last season. To make matters worse for both ball clubs, they play in divisions that have the 3 best teams in the American League so far in 2017; The Yankees, Orioles and Astros.
6) Who will be traded first? José Quintana or Gerrit Cole?
If you asked me this before the season began, I would have said Jose Quintana without a doubt. Now I have to go with Gerrit Cole. Not only has Quintana not been good so far this season, but the White Sox have been one of the more surprising teams in MLB thus far and it would make very little sense for them to trade a starter out of their rotation. On the other hand, Cole has been very solid so far this year after a bit of an off year in 2016. The Pirates are one of the worst teams in the NL currently and losing their star CF in Starling Marte to an 80 game PED suspension hasn’t helped matters.
I don’t expect the White Sox to continue to play this well, so at some point I wouldn’t be surprised if Quintana was dealt. However, the question isn’t asking if they will be dealt, it’s asking who will be dealt first and to me the answer has to be Gerrit Cole. In fact, there are already rumors flying around about the Pirates and Yankees making a trade involving Yankee prospects and the Pirates young righty. Could Cole be the final piece to a Yankees rotation that will look to make a playoff run?